Dr. Alok Roy, Chairman, Medica Group of Hospitals, spoke to BE’s Ellora De regarding the recent technological advancements and the present scenario of Indian healthcare sector.
Q. How does healthcare technology impact the work of health administration?
A. Technology is helping people to live longer and making it easier for clinicians to diagnose their ailments. There are many ways by which health administration has improved with the advent of technology. Patient’s history and medical records can be traced in seconds making treatment faster, with hospitals maintaining electronic databases. In this digital era, expert opinion can be taken by doctors and patients alike early and in a cost-effective way, especially in far-flung areas, thus increasing the speed of execution. Apart from this, advanced imaging services like Echo, CT, MRI, PET CT etc. have enabled doctors get precise images which has improved clinical management.
The latest buzz word is ‘Big Data’. Healthcare involves storage of huge amounts of data and this is exactly the point where ‘cloud’ steps in. Cloud-based software and hardware and applications have made it possible to store information at a much lesser cost which also prevents data loss coupled with strong recovery options. One cannot forget ‘telemedicine,’ an off-shoot of healthcare technology. AI and data analytics are creating greater opportunities in the sector, offering faster and more effective treatment options that have wider affordability and acceptability. Robotics, too, has played a large role in improving the quality of patient care. Robotic surgeries, radiation surgeries or radio therapies with cyber knife options, and transplant support systems among other facilities, are likely to see further advancements. Technology-led innovations in healthcare are bound to open doors to a newer, braver world where healthcare will be more accessible and affordable.
Q. How far has Medica been successful in sourcing latest healthcare technology?
A. The speciality of Medica is the cutting edge that we bring to the masses at an affordable price. Medica Superspeciality Hospital has one of the largest and most advanced ICUs in the country. Our E-ICU monitoring system treats critically ill patients and connects with Medica Group hospitals in other locations. Our state-of-the-art telemedicine facilities use video cameras, microphones, alarms and other monitoring tools to keep an eye on the patients.
Q. What are the recent advancements in nuclear cardiology?
A. Nuclear imaging tools like myocardial perfusion scan, SPECT, PET, PET/MRI have revolutionised the diagnosis process of various cardiac diseases. Myocardial perfusion scan ensures non-invasive diagnosis of coronary artery diseases. On the other hand, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) has also been considered a significant tool for the valuation of myocardial viability and perfusion. PET/MRI seems to be a very promising diagnostic tool for heart problems. Many restrictive diseases like cardiac sarcoidosis and amyloidosis can be effectively evaluated using a variety of nuclear imaging tools. Due to the advancement of technology, one can get accurate and better image quality of the imaging scan.
Q. What are the challenges involved with tech-based nuclear cardiology?
A. While innovations are designed to benefit the patients, the service providers cannot be kept outside the fence either. Today the challenge is to stay up-to-date and leverage new technology. Examples can be given in the form of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and newer procedures like Trans Catheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) which are all set to revolutionise cardiac care and treatment. It is however not as simple as buying new technologies and plugging them in. Each of such technology or procedure needs to be carefully evaluated to assess its impact on workflows and its ease of getting integrated into the
Q. What is your suggestion to the government to improve the healthcare industry?
A. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data, India spends just about 1% of its GDP on healthcare at the moment. The budgetary allocation for health must increase for improving healthcare infrastructure and services in the country. The funds allocated to improve public health infrastructure, especially at the primary healthcare level, should also be watched out for. Apart from this, the healthcare sector in our country at present has a huge gap between demand and supply, especially in the secondary and tertiary care segments.
The healthcare industry in India is far from adequate to address the healthcare needs of over a billion people. Since public infrastructure is not sufficient to cater to the entire demand, private players are coming in to fill the gap. So, there has to be significant investment over the next few years to narrow the gap. The policy makers can think of increasing the public spending on medicines as out-of-pocket spending on these has gone up.